Maybe you’ve heard about how retail giant Target had a huge data breach in 2013. If you were exceptionally unfortunate, you know about it because of fraudulent activity somewhere in your personal credit profile. As a gym owner it may be hitting you particularly hard by interfering with your monthly membership revenue. In response you have to chase after payments and update card numbers on a scale that is putting a lot of pressure on you, your managers and your bottom line.

The Target ScandalRed Target Symbol with Credit Card as the Bullseye

So, what happened to Target? The short answer is that they had something like 70 million accounts hacked, from records for the Target credit card. The impact on their card accounts has been immeasurable and it looks like it’s not over yet. The Target scandal means you’ve probably noticed that automatic billing from the members’ cards on record are being declined more than they were in the past. This means that you have to make the time and effort to contact the affected members and update their accounts.

Impact On Small Gym Businesses

A large part of the business activities of a small gym revolve around having up-to-date information. It really throws a wrench in the works when banks cancel cards and reissue them on a wholesale basis. This is one issue that I consistently hear that my gym management software clients are still struggling with. The closing down of countless credit card accounts has not only caused a severe negative impact on reliable monthly dues but has also caused huge disruption because of greater cancellations of memberships.

When I see clients swamped by a high percentage of declines, I make them aware of Gym Insight’s Full Service Billing Service. The scope of interruption of income is out done by the amount of work you can easily put in troubleshooting and updating your membership accounts. This service from Gym Insight will help you stay ahead of the losses and prepare for other issues in the future.

Get Ready For The Next Round

The next big upheaval will come in 2015, when we all have to update our EPOS systems to handle the chip cards. The vulnerability that caused the Target data breach is a problem for all current US credit cards. We still use the magnetic strip to encode card information and store EPOS readers take the information directly from the strip and pass it through their systems. If hackers can get inside the store’s system they can get the numbers.

The solution is to switch over to new technology that encrypts your data in a chip card, the retailer never has to see it. The credit card networks have now decided that this must happen by the end of October 2015. The mandate is not absolute in forcing you to upgrade your EPOS equipment but for one thing: If you are late to the party then you will be held financially liable for fraud that might result from a breach in your accounts as a merchant. That means you will have to reimburse the victims of fraud.

This is going to be a tight timeline and it’s another headache for small businesses that we don’t really need. But it looks like it’s going to happen and we’re just going to have to deal with, it like so many other things. This is something where the Gym Insight Full Service billing model can do much to help. Automation helps to run your business smoothly. Having the right gym management software will minimize the amount of work you have to do to update accounts and help to organize the tasks to get through it.

The reality is that credit card hacking scandals mean more work for all business owners. As gym memberships are so often based on monthly payments from accounts on file these things tend to have a disproportionate impact on us. When there’s an upset as vast as the Target breach then it’s bound to ripple across the market. The chip card cure may be worse because of all of the card and equipment changes that will result in the next year. The Gym Insight full-service billing system is a set of tools that is here to help you get through such challenging times and prepare for any unforeseen challenges that you might face in the future.

Sources

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-04/target-sorry-for-data-breach-that-smart-cards-can-prevent.html
http://www.paymentsleader.com/will-retailers-be-ready-for-emv-by-oct-2015/

Over to you…

How has your business been impacted by this data breach scandal?

What steps are you taking to combat this problem?

How are you preparing your business for possible future data breaches?

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